Notebook: Injury-plagued Mariners’ bullpen carousel continues
The Mariners got the slightest of breaks on Saturday. Of the two pitchers who had to leave Friday night’s loss to Texas in the span of three pitches, only one will require a stint on the disabled list.
It will be a long stint for Evan Marshall, though, who appeared to suffer a major injury on his second pitch on Friday night and has been placed on the 10-day DL with a right hamstring strain. The Mariners called up right-handers Dan Altavilla and Rob Whalen from Triple-A Tacoma, and Emilio Pagan was optioned to the Rainiers on Saturday to give Seattle some fresh arms in the bullpen.
Though manager Scott Servais didn’t have an update on Marshall before Saturday’s 6:10 game on 710 ESPN Seattle, he said the 27-year-old right-hander was on crutches the previous night and that “he’s gonna be out for quite a while.”
Marshall hasn’t provided an update, either, tt ahough he did tweet ou moving tribute to the teammates that helped him after suffering his injury.
— Evan Marshall (@emarsh31) May 6, 2017
As for Jean Machi, whose premature exit led to the Mariners bringing in Marshall, he’s still recovering from a nerve issue in his thumb but could be back in a day or two – maybe even Saturday night if the Mariners really need him, though Servais understandably is hoping that won’t be the case.
“We’ll try to give Machi a day. If we can give him today, tomorrow and the off day (Monday), that would be great, but I don’t know if it’s going to be that easy,” Servais said. “He’s actually been throwing the ball very well for us. … He feels much better today. His grip strength is back.”
Altavilla and Whalen are much more likely to get the call before Machi in the final two games of the weekend set against Texas.
Altavilla, 24, will be looking to redeem himself after a rough start to the season in Seattle that landed him back in the minors to get on track. Coming out of spring training as one of the Mariners’ main set-up options, Altavilla gave up six earned runs over 7 1/3 innings for a 7.36 ERA, walking six in nine appearances. With Tacoma, he gave up two runs in four games (5 2/3 innings) for a 3.18 ERA with two walks and seven strikeouts.
“I think Altavilla made some nice adjustments recently in Tacoma. … He feels better about where he’s at,” Servais said.
Whalen, 23, was an offseason acquisition from Atlanta who ended 2016 on the DL with a shoulder issue that persisted enough in spring training to put him out of action again by opening day. He was activated and optioned to Tacoma in late April, making one start for the Rainiers in which he threw 4 2/3 scoreless innings.
“Threw the ball very well,” Servais said of Whalen’s lone start for Tacoma. “Much better than what we saw in spring training. He was kind of messed up in spring training. He worked real hard to get shoulder strength, arm strength back and threw the ball good.”
Servais said Whalen will serve as a long relief option.
The injuries have been piling up for the Mariners’ pitching staff so far this season, and Servais was honest about the situation his team is in.
“There’s sometimes no perfect time to go get these guys,” he said about Seattle recalling Altavilla and Whalen. “Sometimes it’s on a need basis, and that’s where we’re at right now. … I think with the guys active today maybe it’s like 22 pitchers we’ve used so far. It’s May 6, so it’s a unique situation we’re in.”
• The Mariners still have not announced a starter to take the place of James Paxton, who was placed on the 10-day DL with a forearm strain Friday, for Sunday’s finale with the Rangers. Servais indicated that Dillon Overton would be the first choice, but acknowledged the lefty could still pitch out of the bullpen Saturday if needed. General manager Jerry Dipoto said Friday that Seattle will call up Christian Bergman, Tacoma’s scheduled starter Sunday, ahead of the finale with Texas, so he is the other option for the M’s.
• Seattle already has Drew Smyly, Felix Hernandez and James Paxton out of the rotation and on the DL, and the team is keeping its fingers crossed that Hisashi Iwakuma won’t have to join them. Iwakuma took a batted ball off his knee in his last start Wednesday, and no determination has been made about his status to pitch his next scheduled outing on Tuesday. “He’s not 100 percent, I’ll be honest there,” Servais said, adding that Iwakuma is dealing with soreness but not swelling. “We really need him, but nothing’s for certain right now.”
• The Mariners have shaken things up a bit after playing 13 innings Friday. You can see the full lineups for Saturday’s game here.